Derby opener for Knights and Cavaliers

George Lambadaridis in action with Brisbane Roar last season. Picture: Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

Melbourne Knights and Green Gully Cavaliers will meet in a blockbuster opening round local derby to start their 2016 NPL seasons.

The Football Federation Victoria fixture gives the Knights the right to host the match under lights on a Friday night at Knights Stadium on February 18.

The season will start 24 hours earlier when Oakleigh Cannons host Port Melbourne Sharks in the season opener at Jack Edwards Reserve.

The Cavaliers’ first home game will be a week later against Pascoe Vale.

In NPL2 west, St Albans Saints and Sunshine George Cross will have the luxury of beginning their campaigns at home.

The Saints will entertain North Geelong Warriors, who were relegated from the top-flight NPL last season, while the Georgies will host Moreland City, one of the dominant sides in this division last season.

Melbourne Knights have brought in talented young goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers, a former Brisbane Roar youth team member who will challenge Michael O’Farrell for the No.1 goalkeeping spot.

Chalmers was the seventh signing of the summer for Knights coach Andrew Marth.

Earlier in the transfer window, new Green Gully coach Arthur Papas pulled off a major recruiting coup by signing former Club Brugge, Brisbane Roar and Australian youth international midfielder George Lambadaridis.

Lambadaridis won a Victorian Premier League title with Altona Magic in 2008-09.